Cyclone Aide student shares information with an orientation stud

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Cyclone Aide Megan Slattery (center) talks Wednesday morning with incoming freshman Nico Scigliano, Des Moines, in the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. Hixson-Lied is where orientation students check in on the first day of their 2-day experience; from there, they fan out across campus for information sessions, tours, a resource fair and to take care of essentials such as an ISU email account, ISU Card and fall registration. Freshman orientation continues through June 30.

Pay structure changes are on the horizon

Iowa State's pay structure may be expanding, vice president for university human resources Julie Nuter reported at the May 26 Professional and Scientific Council meeting. A review and potential overhaul is tied, in part, to federal law changes that go into effect Dec. 1.

For the first time since 2004, a mandated change in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will raise the salary threshold for individuals who qualify for overtime pay, from about $23,000 to $47,476. Nuter said this, coupled with Iowa State's P&S classification and compensation system that hasn't changed since 1993, precipitated a comprehensive review.

"We're not going to look at just this new regulation change," Nuter said. "We really need to look at the entire professional and scientific classification and compensation system. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The regulations have gotten into the 21st century -- the P&S pay system is going to get into the 21st century."

Nuter hinted at the addition of a third tier to what she called the current "binary" pay structure that offers two choices -- P&S or merit positions.

"That [two-tier system] is not sufficient for moving forward," Nuter said. "The jobs that have been defined as professional and scientific do not fit with the merit classification. So, what we need to do, as a result of this new regulation, is create that new structure to support this -- which really means creating a nonexempt structure that fits in between these two."

She said a "consulting partner" and steering committee will help with the review and development process -- taking a look at how ISU defines, organizes and categorizes its jobs, and examining the policies and procedures that support pay administration. She said a new structure would be market-based for competitiveness, focus on performance and ensure equity across campus.

Overtime impact

Emma Mallarino Houghton, director of UHR classification and compensation, said the FLSA determination of overtime eligibility is not based strictly on salary. An analysis of duties (something that ISU already does) also is used to determine exemptions.

"We are currently reviewing the new regulations in as much detail as we can to really understand, not only from a salary standpoint, but also for certain classes of employees -- postdocs, residents and interns, graduate students, academic advisers," Mallarino Houghton said. "The Department of Labor has addressed all of these groups, but we're hoping they come out with more details as we move closer to Dec. 1."

Nuter said the impact of the FLSA change at Iowa State still is being determined.

"We have what I would say is a 'fuzzy' number at this time," Nuter said. "If we looked purely at the salary threshold, and the number of P&S employees, it's about 700 employees who are in these positions. If we ran a calculation on what the variance is between the current salary and this new threshold, it comes out to about $4.5 million, almost $5 million. So, just adjusting pay for positions is not reasonable or feasible, given the funding situation. But the reality is that we need to look at all of our P&S positions through this process."

Salary parameters

Nuter also shared the FY17 salary parameters, which were sent to budget planners last week. The recommendation is, on average, a 3.5 percent increase for P&S employees and faculty. Employees with a satisfactory review will receive a minimum increase of 1 percent, and salary bumps over 5 percent would require approval from senior vice presidents. Employees with unsatisfactory reviews receive no increase.

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert said that salary increases could, and should, vary.

"The supervisor has the appropriate responsibility and authority to give raises at different percentages," Wickert said. "I encourage it. I expect to see differentiation, based on performance."

He added that salary increases are important in this year's budget planning process.

"The president made it very clear back in the fall, in his annual address, that compensation for employees was his No. 1 priority for the university," Wickert said. "It's very exciting for the president to make that happen."

Salary changes go into effect at the start of the next fiscal year (July 1), along with an FY17 P&S salary matrix that reflects a 1.75 percent adjustment. An FAQ document also is available online.

Council compensation recommendations

Council members approved a compensation recommendation introduced by the group's compensation and benefits committee. The FY17 recommendation encourages "the greatest salary increase feasible" for employees with satisfactory or better performance reviews, citing an average increase of just 1.4 percent annually over the last five years.

The supporting document includes recommendations to enhance three priorities:

  • Competitive compensation (align increases with peers and private sector; increases should not be lower than salary matrix adjustments)
  • Performance-based compensation (recognize superior performance with differential increases; develop a performance form with subjective and objective measurements; require performance management training for supervisors)
  • Improved classification system (include additional classifications and clearer position responsibilities)

Other business

  • The council approved three appointments to fill vacant seats: Megan Fink (ISU Dining) and Timothy Tesar (admissions) as representatives for student affairs and Jake Cummings (equal opportunity) as a representative for the president's units

Tuition, salary proposals go to regents next week

On the heels of an increase in state operational support next year that's less than one-third of what university leaders requested, Iowa State will make up the difference in additional tuition revenue. When it meets next week in Ames, the state Board of Regents will be asked to approve a $7.3 million addition to the 2016-17 tuition rates it approved, conditionally, in December. The proposed increases include $300 for resident undergraduates, who previously were looking at a tuition freeze; $100 for nonresident undergraduates and all graduate students; and $50 for all veterinary medicine students.

The board of regents will meet Wednesday and Thursday, June 8-9, at the alumni center. The full agenda is on the board's website, as is an audio live stream of open portions of the meeting. Wednesday morning and early afternoon are reserved for performance evaluations of the university presidents and board executive director Bob Donley.

Tuition adjustments

Student group

Approved increase (December)

Proposed increase (May)

Proposed 2016-17 tuition









   Nonresident (U.S.)
















   Nonresident (U.S.)








Vet Med (years 1-3)








   Nonresident (U.S.)








*Includes $500 incremental tuition (first of three years) for all international students

These proposed tuition increases and the increases the board approved in December would generate an estimated $33.7 million in new revenue in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Iowa State leaders sought an $8.2 million increase to the university's general university operating appropriation for next year; in April, the Legislature approved a $2.2 million increase, which the governor also signed last week. Back in December, board members pledged to revisit tuition rates if state support fell short of the regent universities' requests.

Salary increases

The university's annual salary parameters for the fiscal year that begins July 1 are in the board's consent agenda, for which there typically is little or no discussion prior to approval. President Steven Leath shared the parameters with university leaders in a May 24 memo.

Faculty, P&S staff, contract staff and post docs

As proposed, a 1 percent increase is the minimum salary increase for employees whose most recent performance evaluation indicated satisfactory work. Higher increases -- up to 5 percent -- are allowed for faculty and staff "who go above and beyond," as Leath wrote in his memo. Any proposed salary increase in excess of 5.0 percent requires approval from the appropriate senior vice president, and a form exists for that purpose.

Units will receive central funds for 3.5 percent performance-based salary increases, and that is the overall targeted average for faculty, P&S and contract staff (K base) and post docs across the university. However, individual units may finish with average increases above or below that.

Salary increases also may be necessary for internal or market equity or retention purposes, though these adjustments can be made at other times of the year. Market and equity considerations that push a salary increase above 5 percent require supporting data that illustrate the disparity. Questions about market, equity or retention-related salary increases should be directed to the classification/compensation unit in university human resources.

Also on July 1, the salary points in the P&S salary matrix (for minimum, maximum, midpoint and first-third salaries in each pay grade) also will be raised 1.75 percent. The adjustment is intended to help align ISU salaries with changes to external market salaries.

Merit staff

Year two of the state's two-year collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) calls for a salary increases of 2.25 percent on July 1 and 1.25 percent on Jan. 1, 2017. Merit employees who haven't reached the maximum salary in their pay grades also will receive a 4.5 percent increase on their anniversary dates at the university.

Other Iowa State agenda items

In other ISU-related business, the board will be asked to:

  • Approve a five-year lease between the university and Clearwater Crossing Lodge Inc. (a subsidiary of the ISU Foundation) for a 29-acre rural property west of Missoula, Montana, for use by the colleges of Human Sciences and Agriculture and Life Sciences. The property contains cabins, a small restaurant and various outbuildings suitable for student learning experiences. The proposed lease rate is $1,000 per year. The Clearwater corporation, which is in the process of dissolving, previously gifted all of its shares to the ISU Foundation. The foundation subsequently would become the landlord on the lease.
  • Allow Iowa State to receive benefits from the gift of 389 acres of farmland in Worth County from Lavonne Gregory upon her death. As stipulated in a revocable trust agreement, the state would receive the gift and the university would manage the farm, with net income to be split between the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Veterinary Medicine and used in teaching and research related to companion animals.
  • Approve a revised budget ($6.1 million, an increase of $570,000) for the kinesiology department's renovation project in the older part of the Forker Building. The increase is due to a redesign of the work area for graduate students. The project is being paid for with university funds.
  • Approve the termination of the (inactive) Institute for Combinatorial Discovery (currently in the office of the vice president for research), established in 2003 as one of six presidential initiatives. Budget cuts in 2010 resulted in reduced support for the institute and in 2015 its director left the university. Remaining limited funds would be transferred to the office of biotechnology. The proposed effective date is June 30.
  • Modify Iowa State's peer group, substituting Pennsylvania State University for the University of Arizona. Arizona is considered an "outlier," in part because its student body includes relatively low numbers of students in the engineering and ag-related majors. Like Arizona, Penn State is both a land-grant university and an AAU member university. Penn State is considered an "aspirational peer" in the area of research expenditures.
  • Receive a summary of the honorary Doctor of Science degree presented to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz May 7, the day he spoke at the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

These Iowa State faculty and staff are scheduled to give presentations to board members:

  • Registrar Laura Doering, residence director Pete Englin and student activities center director George Micalone: "The Co-Curricular Transcript: Helping Students Track Their Personal and Professional Development," Student and Academic Affairs Committee, Wednesday afternoon, Horton Room
  • Biomedical sciences professor Richard Martin, "Even a Worm Will Turn: Discovery of Drugs that Paralyze Important Worm Parasites of Humans and Animals," full board, Thursday afternoon, Reiman Ballroom
  • Music and theatre faculty members Jane Cox, Brad Dell, Michael Golemo, Donald Simonson and Jonathan Sturm, "The State of Performing Arts at Iowa State University," full board, Thursday afternoon, Reiman Ballroom

Visitors keep campus busy during summer

Many events -- from local to global -- will bring thousands of visitors to campus this summer. The following is a look at the groups (expecting 100 or more participants) that Iowa State will welcome over the next couple months.

Group Dates Participants Housing Venues    
Special Olympics Iowa summer games May 19-21 3,000 yes Lied, Forker, Beyer, Hilton
Odyssey of the Mind World Finals May 25-28 12,000 yes Campus-wide  
New student orientation May 23-July 1 6,000 yes Campus-wide  
USA Ultimate Iowa High School Championships June 4 100 no Rec fields  
PEGASAS (Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability) annual meeting June 7-9 150 no Town Engineering  
International Social Theory Consortium Conference June 9-10 125 no Morrill  
Agriculture Credit School: Iowa Bankers Association June 13-17 100 no Scheman  
OPPTAG summer youth programs June 13-July 22 400 yes Campus-wide  
USA Track and Field Iowa state meet June 18-19 1,000 no Cyclone Sports Complex  
USA Hockey Bantam Central District Select Camp June 19-24 150 yes Ames/ISU Ice Arena  
Cyclone Volleyball camps June 21-23, 12-14, 25-27 400 yes Forker, Hilton, Lied  
Miniature Hereford Breeders Association Junior Nationals June 22-26 200 no Hansen Ag Center
School Foods Short Course June 23, 19-21 445 no Scheman  
GoServ Global 5th Anniversary Celebration June 25 350 no Sukup Endzone Club  
Iowa 4-H Youth Conference June 28-30 830 yes Campus-wide  
Iowa Reading Association Conference June 28-29 600 no Scheman  
BravO National Dance Competition July 5-10 1,000 no Iowa State Center  
Universal Dance Association Camp July 7-10 150 yes State Gym  
Iowa Masters Golf Tournament July 8-10 100 no Veenker golf course  
Iowa Games July 9-10, 15-17, 22-24 14,500 no Campus-wide  
Project Lead the Way core training July 10-22 285 yes Howe, Sukup, Elings  
National Cheer and National Dance associations July 15-17 200 yes State Gym  
83rd Annual Custodian/Maintenance School July 18-22 100 no Scheman  
National Beep Baseball World Series July 24-30 500 no Rec fields  
Mary Greeley Medical Center Birthday Party Aug. 7 1,000 no Scheman